At the Chumash Casino Thursday night, the 72 year old is following the best advice in keeping his mind, body and soul in shape. First, he’s slim and trim which keeps him flexible. In fact, judging by his fingerwork on pieces like the spacious “Cause We Ended As Lovers” which made the strings sing like Edith Piaf, he must take extra zinc tablets to keep his nails strong enough to bend, twist, tap and pull the strings like a chiropractor.
His sage next link to the Fountain of Youth is that he’s surrounded himself with a young and energetic team which sounded right at home as they each got a chance to show their wares on a sleek read of “You Know, You Know.” In support of his recent album Loud Hailer, Beck brought on stage an enthused band of Carmen Vandenburg/g, Jonathan Joseph/dr and Rhonda Smith/b for pieces like the futuristic “The Revolution Will Be Televised” and the strolling and tumbling “Big Block” that had Smith’s bass lay down an irresistible groove for Beck’s 6 stringed shootout. New material from the album such as the heavy hitting “Right Now” and funky chickened “O.I.L” had the energetic and nubile Rosie Bones deliver sassy lyrics and modern attitudes.
Beck also keeps steady by holding onto his roots, as he touched on early masterpieces such as the militaristic anthem “Becks Bolero,” and even better, with gruff toned Jimmy Hall grabbing the mic for a handful of songs. With Joseph’s rumbling drums and Beck’s chiming guitar, Hall blues shouted out a “Morning Dew” before drenching “A Change Is Gonna Come” with gospel wailing. The band got deep and swampy with the Ex Wet Willie vocalist greasing up on “Rollin’ and Tumblin,” thumping on the stomping “Shapes of Things” and blowing the blues away on the harp while Beck chicka-boomed on a Chicago bound “Little Brown Bird.”
Combining all of these elements for his encore of “A Day In The Life,” Beck melded together parts of lyricism, surreal blues and assertive rock in a final form that demonstrated that while other artists his age are merely rehashing their tunes from the Nixon years, Beck can look back as well, but only as a means of guiding his direction forward.